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Mol Endocrinol. 2005 Mar;19(3):574-87. Epub 2004 Nov 24.

Progesterone-independent effects of human progesterone receptors (PRs) in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer: PR isoform-specific gene regulation and tumor biology.

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1
Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA. Britta.Jacobsen@uchsc.edu

Abstract

Progesterone receptors (PRs) are prognostic markers in breast cancers irrespective of the patient's progestational status. However, there are two PR isoforms, PR-A and PR-B, that are equimolar in the normal breast but dysregulated in advanced disease. Postmenopausal, tamoxifen-treated patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, PR-A-rich tumors have much faster disease recurrence than patients with PR-B-rich tumors. To study the mechanisms we engineered ER+ breast cancer cells that express each PR isoform under control of an inducible promoter. We identified 79 genes regulated by progesterone (P), mainly by PR-B, and 51 genes regulated without progesterone, mainly by PR-A. Only nine genes were regulated with and without ligand, leading to definition of three classes: I) genes regulated only by liganded PR; II) genes regulated only by unliganded PR; III) genes regulated by both. Unliganded PR-A and PR-B differentially regulate genes that coordinate extracellular signaling pathways and influence tumor cell biology. Indeed, in the absence of P, compared with ER+/PR-B+ or PR- cells, ER+, PR-A+ cells exhibit an aggressive phenotype, are more adhesive to an extracellular matrix, and are more migratory. Additionally, unliganded PR-A and PR-B both inhibit cell growth and provoke resistance to Taxol-induced apoptosis. We propose that PR-A:PR-B ratios, even in the absence of P, influence the biology and treatment response of ER+ tumors, that PR-A isoforms are functionally dominant in P-deficient states, and that PR-A rich tumors are especially aggressive.

PMID:
15563544
DOI:
10.1210/me.2004-0287
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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